Scotty Claus (Photo courtesy David Pisarra)
Scotty Claus (Photo courtesy David Pisarra)
Scotty Claus (Photo courtesy David Pisarra)

Scotty Claus is in town! He’s my favorite Christmas tree rental elf.

OK, he’s the ONLY Christmas tree rental elf, but still, he’s awesome. I met him three years ago at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. There he was, devilishly handsome in his 5-foot-long Santa hat, hawking this new idea of renting a Christmas tree.

The trees are living. They’re delivered in pots, and after the holidays the Living Christmas Tree company ( will come and pick them up, to be cared for throughout the next year, when they’ll be rented out again. It’s a genius, eco-friendly solution.

The process makes it easy for busy people who want to be able to have a tree, but not the waste. By having an online portal for people to go on, pick out their tree, have it delivered, and then picked up in three weeks or so, the company is serving many needs, not the least of which is the veterans that are hired throughout the year.

Three years ago when I visited Scotty at a South Bay refinery where he rents space to grow his trees above ground, the company was doing well and I thought it was a great idea. I should have invested.

It is a great idea, and it got him on the “Shark Tank” reality show. But getting on “Shark Tank” is only half the problem, you have to convince someone to invest in you. Scotty is a very good marketer. He’s a natural charmer and he lives the part. So when he was competing, it was no great surprise to see that NBA team owner Mark Cuban wanted to become a partner with him so that the company can grow beyond where it is now.

I found this out, when two weeks ago the Los Angeles Business Journal arrives and there on the cover is Scotty Claus standing next to a tree with a big bold headline. Seeing his success makes me very happy. His company is a role model of corporate wellness. They have a strong non-profit partnership program to help with the community. The website lists many community partners and the product actually helps the environment. Scotty says, “Yes, it’s saving a tree, but it’s more than that. Community is part of your environment, too.”

How can you not love this guy?

So I reached out to him to do an update. Luckily he was going to be installing a tree at the Fairmont Miramar hotel just in time for the Fairmont’s food drive that benefits the Westside Food Bank, and for the holiday season.

The Fairmont is going to be home to the latest branch of Vilebrequin. The high-end swim and beach wear clothing retailer with stores across the globe in all the hippest vacation spots is opening here.

To celebrate the holiday season, they created a polar bear themed short which thankfully for me, Scotty Claus was modeling on Saturday when I took the above picture. The Christmas tree is decorated with children’s shorts in the polar bear theme, and white porcelain polar bears that will be given to guests of the hotel at turndown in place of the traditional chocolates.

The whole event showed how high-end retail and hospitality can work together to do good for the larger community. The Living Christmas Tree Company provides an example of how a company can serve the twin goals of profit for owners, and benefits to the planet. The Fairmont was using the launching of a new retailer in their hotel to get publicity for their food drive for the Westside Food Bank.

I’m happy to know Scotty Claus and appreciate the success of the Living Christmas Tree Company, for he gives me hope and brings the message of the season into all our lives.

It really is possible to do well and do good.

Happy holidays to all.



David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at or (310) 664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra.

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